Fostering ideas unlocks the true potential of IP
Industry experts say patience and nurturing creativity is the key to fully cashing in on any intellectual property
Inc ubating creativity by securing intellectual property (IP) rights from day one is essential for Chinese mainland filmmakers to maximize revenue and reduce risk, industry experts told the China Daily Asia Leadership Roundtable in Hong Kong on Friday.
The panel discussion also echoed the view that consolidating IP protection would secure derivative earnings on top of box office revenue, which could significantly reduce business risks for filmmakers.
Emily Dai Ying, web-drama general manager at iQIYI, a Chinese internet channel broadcasting web dramas, said IP protection needs to be incubated for a long-term perspec- tive to realize good returns.
“We established an incubation fund of 50 million yuan ($6.69 million) to foster original creativity of our web-drama content. We also set up a piracy investigation team to detect any piracy of our web-drama content,” she said.
The roundtable forum, themed “Strategic IP Management in China’s Film and Creative Industries”, invited several market players to examine the business potential from adequate IP protection.
“As the mainland becomes the world’s second-largest film market, it has made great strides to propel cultural influences,” said Zhou Li, publisher and editor-in-chief at China Daily Asia Pacific and editorial board member at China Daily Group.
Box-office revenue on the mainland totaled 44 billion yuan in 2015, with this year’s takings set to be even higher. In first eleven months of this year, box office revenue has already reached 42 billion yuan.
However, various industry practitioners reckoned that box office income may be volatile so that other derivative earnings could help cushion business risks.
“The industrialization process of the mainland film industry lasts less than ten years. What the industry lacks is not talent, capital or market size, but patience. Mainland filmmakers just need time to nurture their creativity,” asserted William Feng Wei, Greater China head and Asia Pacific vice-president at Motion Picture Association, the international trade organization for the American film industry.
“If there is adequate IP protection regarding film content, those derivative earnings due to solid IP protection will induce even more capital investment into the mainland film industry.”
Liu Kailuo, president of Heyi Pictures, the film arm of Youku Tudou Inc, believed that internet-based IP content could bring more impact to the revenue structure of China’s filmmakers.
The proportion of total revenue comprising box office earnings in China remained too heavy, he said. But this is improving as the ratio fell to about 70 percent last year, down from 90 percent.
“But the box office earnings of one of our movies composed from an internet drama accounts for only for 40 percent of the IP’s total income and the other 60 percent are from derivatives, such as games,” he said, referring to the company’s film Surprise.
Xiao Fei, board chairman and chief executive officer at Beijing UP Picture Group, said there are many innovative methods to manage IP apart from making movies and plays.
He said the IP management team can combine movies and series with other productions, including concerts and cartoons. The group has held concerts for its films Mr Six and So Young, and Xiao said audiences of one platform can be attracted to other entertainment formats of the same IP.
He also said while IP trading is relatively accessible, IP incubation remains more important as a long-term strategy and a method to generate income in the industrialization of IP. “And the movies, plays and other derivatives could also help improve the original stories — which may not be the best — through IP incubation,” Xiao said.
Li Lei, vice-president at Filmko Entertainment Ltd, still believed an interesting story is paramount, saying “other people will find it difficult to copy if you are telling a fantastic story”.
Other people will find it difficult to copy if you are telling a fantastic story.” There are many innovative methods to manage IP apart from making movies and plays.”
(From left) Li Lei, vice-president of Filmko Entertainment Ltd; Xiao Fei, board chairman and CEO of Beijing UP Picture Group; Zhou Li, editorial board member at China Daily Group and publisher and editor-in-chief at China Daily Asia Pacific; Emily Dai Ying, web-drama general manager of iQIYI; moderator Alexander Wan, senior advisor of China Daily Asia Pacific; Liu Kailuo, president of Heyi Pictures; William Feng Wei, Greater China head and Asia Pacific vice-president at Motion Picture Association, pose for photos at a China Daily Roundtable Forum themed “Strategic IP Management in China’s Film and Creative Industries” in the Hong Kong SAR on Friday.
Xiao Fei, board chairman and chief executive officer at Beijing UP Picture Group
Li Lei, vice-president at Filmko Entertainment Ltd